If you have ever suffered from intense anxiety you are well aware of how important it is to find a safe remedy to help manage the symptoms. In fact, anxiety can be so debilitating that it may have a negative impact on your lifestyle. Many who are struggling with anxiety wind up isolating in order to avoid stress triggers, missing out on enjoyable social events or career opportunities.
Treatment for an anxiety disorder will involve three primary interventions: psychotherapy, holistic activities, and medication. These elements can have a significant affect together as a multi-pronged approach to help you manage the disorder. To learn more about what to take for anxiety and how to control its symptoms, read on!
The Basics About Anxiety Disorder
If you find yourself with a clenched jaw, feeling highly irritable, and wound as tight as a drum, you may be experiencing anxiety. No matter what the source of the anxiety is, the body will have a powerful response to it. The more extreme the anxiety, such as with panic disorder, social anxiety, and specific phobia, the more intense the physical response. The anxiety response can include sweating, racing heart, dizziness, headache, shallow breathing and palpitations.
Anxiety disorder is the most prevalent type of mental health disorder experienced in America. Approximately 40 million people live with an anxiety disorder each year, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. It will not be surprising if that statistic is revised upward due to the mental health effects of the pandemic in 2020. There are several potential causes for someone developing an anxiety disorder. These factors might include genetics, brain chemistry, personality traits, undeveloped coping skills, and negative life events such as trauma or abuse. Fortunately, anxiety disorders are highly treatable using a comprehensive treatment approach.
When we encounter a stress-inducing trigger the brain will begin producing the stress response hormones cortisol, norepinephrine, and adrenaline. The shot of these natural chemicals is what produces many of the symptoms we associate with anxiety. The key to managing the stress response is learning how to regulate the emotional reaction to the stressful stimuli we all experience on a daily basis. This involves know what to take for anxiety, and what not to take. Persistent feelings of anxiety can cause someone to seek unhealthy methods to self-medicate the uncomfortable symptoms, such as through drugs or alcohol. Learning healthy stress management techniques is essential for those who struggle with anxiety.
There are multiple natural methods that can help enhance relaxation and reduce stress and anxiety. In therapy, not only can you explore the sources of anxiety and work with the clinician to change your thinking and shift how you respond to these anxiety-producing stimuli, but a good therapist will also introduce you to techniques that revolve around breathing awareness, such as mindfulness, yoga, deep breathing exercises, and meditation.
Different Kinds of Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety comes in a variety of “flavors.” These are the unique features that accompany the usual anxiety symptoms and help the therapist to devise an individualized treatment protocol that meets your needs. The different types of anxiety include:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). GAD features excessive worry that is out of proportion to the triggering situation. The exaggerated and chronic worrying can lead to impairment in functioning, sleep disruption, irritability, and physical (somatic) symptoms, such as headache, stomach problems, fatigue, and muscle tension.
- Panic Disorder. Panic disorder involves unpredictable and intense physical symptoms that mimic a heart attack, such as a racing heart, shallow breathing, heart palpitations, dizziness, chest tightness or pain, and nausea. Because the attacks come on suddenly without warning, the person may begin to isolate to avoid future panic attacks.
- Social Anxiety Disorder. Social anxiety is characterized by a deep fear of being judged and humiliated in public, leading to avoidance of all types of social interaction and events. This can cause isolation and loneliness, as well as negatively impacting interpersonal relationships and career opportunities.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). OCD features symptoms of anxiety in response to an irrational fear of being contaminated by germs, an obsessive need for orderliness, cleanliness, or symmetry, or fear of aggressive or angry impulses. In response to the fear, the person will develop compulsive behaviors to help manage the anxiety induced by the irrational obsession.
- Agoraphobia. Agoraphobia involves intense fear that is triggered when the individual feels they are trapped. This leads to feeling helpless and afraid while in certain places such as on a train, bus, plane, in an elevator, or on a ship. This type of anxiety disorder may result after a series of panic attacks, and can lead to social isolation.
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD an anxiety-related disorder that features anxiety caused by a trauma. PTSD refers to experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event that results in nightmares, hyper-arousal, and unwanted memories that linger more than a month. PTSD can cause the person to avoid any situations or people that might trigger the traumatic memories.
- Phobia. Phobias pertain to the intense and exaggerated fear of a specific person, place, or thing. The object of fear can lead to irrational and obsessive behaviors as the individual attempts to avoid encountering it.
Anxiety Disorder Treatment Approach
When reaching out for help to a mental health practitioner you will likely be treated via a standard protocol using evidence-based solutions. While under the care of a psychotherapist and/or psychiatrist, you will be provided with a combination of treatment strategies that help minimize the anxiety symptoms. These include:
Medication. Medications indicated for the management of an anxiety disorder might include antidepressants, benzodiazepines, or mood stabilizers.
Psychotherapy. Individual and/or group sessions where a psychiatrist or psychotherapist guide the individual in identifying self-defeating thought and behavior patterns and guide them towards replacing them with positive, constructive ones using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Psychodynamic therapy may be helpful for those with a history of trauma or abuse. Other therapies that are helpful for anxiety treatment include eye movement desensitization reprocessing and prolonged exposure therapy.
Holistic. Treatment for anxiety should include a focus on all aspects of the person, or a “holistic” approach. For anxiety treatment, this includes activities that will help you achieve a more relaxed state when you are feeling stressed. Such holistic activities include:
- Deep breathing techniques. Simple breathing exercises can have a swift and significant impact on stress and anxiety. Deep breathing causes an immediate release of stress, a decrease in blood pressure, relaxed muscles, slowed breathing, reduced tension, and a peaceful state of mind.
- Meditation. Time for quiet reflection is immensely relaxing. Meditation allows you to take a pause and allows your mind to float toward the spiritual realm. You can practice meditation in the solitude of a natural outdoor setting or in your own room.
- Yoga. Yoga can have powerful relaxation effects. Yoga blends spiritual and physical activities, such as poses, positions, and movements that are choreographed for calming the mind while toning muscles and stretching. There are several different types of yoga to try out to find the best fit for you.
- Aromatherapy. Aromatherapy uses essential oils that are derived from plants and flowers to cause a desired response. For the treatment of anxiety, the best oils are lavender, ylang ylang, rose, chamomile, and bergamot. Aromatherapy is delivered through the form of a vapor, or diffuser to be inhaled, or applied topically to strategic places on the body.
- Mindfulness. Practicing mindfulness teaches us to gain control over distracting worries or thoughts that keep us agitated. Mindfulness helps us focus attention on the now, and to feel the moment in all aspects, such as through the emotions, tactile sensations, and sounds, but without any judgment.
- Exercise. Adding some form of exercise into the daily routine is an excellent way to control stress and anxiety. Exercise, such as running, cycling, swimming, walking, or dance cardio, helps produce endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin, all which help regulate mood.
When You Need a Higher Level of Care for Anxiety
When the anxiety response is excessive and paralyzing it can become debilitating, ultimately affecting your work, relationships, and the ability to function. In most cases, the anxiety can be managed effectively with therapy and medication in addition to the relaxation techniques described above. But if symptoms are still unmanageable, a residential anxiety treatment program may be the best course of action to take.
The residential program can take a deeper look into the issues that may be impacting the anxiety. Upon intake, a thorough evaluation of the anxiety disorder will provide information, such as a detailed medical and psychiatric history and a review of medications, which can allow the psychiatrist to diagnose the specific features of the anxiety disorder. This data then helps the clinician to create an individualized treatment plan.
The comprehensive treatment approach will involve various therapeutic activities during the day, such as individual psychotherapy, group therapy, life skills, family therapy, experiential and holistic therapies. The residential program offers a more intensive treatment approach while providing a quiet place for the individual to focus on learning relaxation techniques and what to take for anxiety when it flairs up.
Whether you tackle anxiety through outpatient treatment or a residential program, the great news is that anxiety can be well managed, and your quality of life can be significantly improved.
KS Mental Wellness a Leading Residential Mental Health and Dual Diagnosis Program
KS Mental Wellness is a Palm Springs based mental health program that helps individuals who are struggling with an anxiety disorder. The peaceful desert setting offers the perfect environment for healing. Our expert psychiatric team combines the essential treatment elements for those who are wondering what to take for anxiety. If you are suffering from debilitating anxiety, contact the team at KS Mental Wellness today. Call (888) 312-4262.